Trinidad Judge Cites Dancehall Lyrics In Ruling On Discrimination Case

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It’s not every day you hear Dancehall lyrics being used in the courtroom, not even when an artist is on trial. Trinidadian High Court Judge Avason Quinlan-Williams, in criticizing the Equal Opportunity Tribunal (EOT) and its chairman Donna Prowell-Raphael for unfair treatment of a disabled employee, cited General Grant’s hit Pure Hate.

The defendant, Veera Bhajan, who was supposed to assume the role of lay assessor at the EOT, was blocked from doing so, presumably because she has no arms.

In assessing the matter, Justice Quinlan-Williams noted that Grant’s, “pure hate and acting normal” lyrics played a huge role in the ruling. The accused were ordered to pay $100,000 in damages for the distress and embarrassment they caused Bhajan.

Justice Quinlan-Williams also ordered $250,000 in vindicatory damages to highlight the court’s strong feelings over what transpired, according to the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian.

“There ought to be a sense of public outrage over what occurred,” Quinlan-Williams said. The judge noted that the attempts to block the appointment were ‘disturbing and off-putting.’

She further noted that discrimination persisted even though the Office of the President and Office of the Attorney General approved the appointment of Bhajan and supported her legal challenge.

“There was no regard to the mandate of the tribunal to prevent discrimination and to promote equal opportunities for people of unequal status. There was no regard for how it would look to the rest of us that a person who is lawfully appointed by Her Excellency cannot get her just dues from the EOT and its chair,” Quinlan-Williams said.

Quinlan-Williams lauded Bhajan for her bravery to pursue the lawsuit.

“It is not anyone and everyone who can take on that fight but the Claimant can and she has. It is no wonder, therefore, she was appointed to the EOT,” she said.

Pure Hate was produced by Kisskidee Records. General Grant began his career as a toaster and DJ at various performances in Trinidad & Tobago. Later expanding into reggae and hip-hop on releases including 1998’s Mr. Energizer, his sound also included elements of soca and other Caribbean genres.

Grant’s other hits include Shot Call, Call Me, and My Chunkalunks.